MBI award voting open, and a survey

Voting is open for the 2008 Motorcycle Bloggers International Awards. Vote for your favorite bikes and people of 2007. The scooter bloggers (self included) sorta dropped the ball on nominating this year, but there are still some there.

If that’s not enough clicking for you, Steve over at The Scooter Scoop has put together a “Market Survey”. I don’t know what it’s for, but Herb Powell and Homer Simpson have proved that people aren’t willing to pay for the motor vehicle they’ve always dreamed of.

Obiboi Re-Invents The Honda EZ-Cub

Motorcycle and scooter designer Oberdan Bezzi has turned to applying the aesthetics of classic motorcycles to modern creations.  Some of his latest drawings posted on his blog, Scooter Design, include an enduro inspired series of scooters that draw from the Honda EZ-Cub in form and Honda z50 part info.  The scooters definitely have an off-road look with knobbie tires, a crash guard on the bottom and motocross style number plates.  The paint schemes are modeled after KTM and Penton dirt bikes of the 1970s.  These drawings follow on his most recent motorcycle designs transferring the look of 70s off road bikes to modern bikes.   What I like most about his designs is that he superimposes a rider on his creations.  I believe that many motorcycle and scooter designers forget to do this anytime before they hit the sales floor.

Archive: Jon Vnuk, 1996


Jon Vnuk, Niagara Falls, 1996

Back to Niagara ’96 and an old friend we don’t see enough of these days. In the center of any rally in the mid-90s, no matter how drunk and silly you were being, you could always be sure that Jon Vnuk was on a rampage around the campsite, being even sillier than you, without a drop of alcohol in his system. Whether jumping over the campfire in a cow suit (don’t touch the udders) at 2am or wandering around, still awake, at 7am in nothing but a foil survival blanket, he was always fun to be around, and luckily we still run into him, unexpectedly, pretty much every time we’re in Milwaukee, whether our visit is scooter-related or not. He’s such a clean-cut kid, yet such a weirdo.

Dealer Expo 2008: Genuine/Scooterworks


Let’s get the DealerExpo ball rolling again (finally!) with a booth that didn’t offer many surprises, but gave us a first look in person at a few bikes we’d been hoping to see in person. The return of the Stella was of course big news to long-time scooter fans, but only one avocado model was on display at the booth shared by sister companies Genuine Scooter Co. and Scooterworks. Presumably, they sold the rest of their first small shipment since 2006.
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Sidam Xnovo: Another Mullet Scooter

The mullet hairstyle has been described as, ‘business in the front, party in the rear’. Similar descriptions could fit three-wheel motorcycles like the Piaggio MP3 and Can-Am Spyder. But as the hot trend seems to be two wheels in the front and one in the rear, the opposite configuration has it’s assets as well. The New Cafe Racer Society reports (linking from thebikergene.com) on the Sidam Xnovo, a three wheel scooter with two hoops in the back like the old Honda Gyro and other still made today. What sets it apart seems to be the lean capability similar to the MP3 design. Thebikergene.com has a nice gallery of naked photos showing off drawings of the mechanicals. The advantage that the rear configuration would seem to have would be additional traction. I’ve thought that the trike approach would be more useful in low grip scenarios like in snow or loose surfaces, where the MP3 style design would have no improvement in this area over a traditional scoot. Just putting an ATV style swingarm and wheels on a scooter may sound like a great idea for tearing up the snow and mud, but then one is left with a four-wheel handling feel because it can’t lean the same way a motorcycle does. This independent tilting design could increase traction, retain the power two wheeler feel and still increase stability. While I’m no big fan of the maxi scooter design, I can appreciate the technical effort a great deal. The crazy frenchman behind heavymotor.com took a couple of MBK Spirit (similar to the pre-2002 Yamaha Zuma in the USA) motors to a similar effect and it looks like a hell of a lot of fun. So you can decide for yourself which end is business and which is party when looking over the new range of mullet scooters.

Flu Update/Apology


Judging by the four-hour wait at UrgentCare yesterday, most of America has the flu right now, but it was a bad time for me, I’ve still got a lot of DealerExpo to talk about, people have been sending me great links left and right, the new T-shirts are almost in production, and that’s not even accounting for my real job, or American Scooterist, or any of the many other balls I dropped last week.
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#15: Can’t spell “Vino” without “VIN”

Today’s question for Dr. Buzz and his panel of experts comes from From Mark P. of Galveston FL:

I’m looking for a scooter and I’m considering the Yamaha Vino. I’ve read that Yamaha makes some Vinos in China, and I’ve seen ads for much-cheaper Chinese scooters that look like Vinos. Are these all the same bike? How can I tell where a scooter was manufactured?

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TGB/Sachs at DealerExpo2008 REVISED

NOTE: I got a couple things wrong in the original story, hopefully I’ve covered all the mistakes. Apologies to Cobra Powersports for the mistakes and the delay in correcting them.

As Brooke pointed out last week, one of Dealer Expo’s biggest surprises was that TGB importer Cobra Powersports has added historic German marque Sachs to their lineup. Cobra is a solid operation with a good dealer network, and most dealers we talked to were pretty excited by the news.
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Piaggio will not privatize

Ducati Motor Holding has announced plans to buy out shareholders at a 23% premium and take Ducati private. According to Forbes, this news drove up Piaggio stocks, though Piaggio asserted today that they have no intention of following Ducati’s lead. 56.5% of Piaggio shares are held by IMMSI SpA, Piaggio chairman/CEO Roberto Colaninno’s holding company.

(See comments, I originally totally mangled this story and reported that Ducati was threatening to buy out Piaggio stockholders. I blame Forbes for writing confusing sentences.)

Archive: Chicago scooterists, 1997


Chicago, Tom Shoner, Andy Miller, Bryan Bedell, Alfredo Mar, and Roger “Gun Dude”, Chicago circa 1997

I’m not exactly sure when this photo was taken, probably at Slaughterhouse 3 or the first Rockford Rally. The mystery here is Roger. He showed up at Slaughterhouse 2 on a polished bare-metal Primavera and turned up for every scooter event in the midwest for about a year. He was a great guy, but we always suspected he was “up to something,” partially because his phone number at the time was “773-GUN-DUDE.” I believe it was Andy who was filling up at a gas station one day and saw Roger in a U-Haul, in a big hurry to get out of town. We never saw or heard from him again. Roger, if you see this, and you’re out of prison, give us a shout! (You too, Shoney!)

Scooterville Wrecking Ball

One of our favorite scooter shops, Scooterville, recently moved to a new home in Minneapolis. At DealerExpo, owner Bob Hedstrom mentioned he had video footage of the demolition of the old building, and we knew that was just the sort of thing 2strokebuzz readers live to see. Thanks, Bob!

Adiva 250cc convertible launches in Japan

Remember the Adiva? The Adiva convertible scooter that Benelli’s old importer displayed at trade shows a few years ago has turned up in Japan, produced by a different company. While checking out the new “Andretti” Benellis (more on that soon), We asked U.S. importer Steve Rubakh about the Adiva, he said Benelli’s parent company Qianjiang sold the rights to the model and abandoned it because of safety problems. With the BMW C1 and the Diamo Velux also resigned to history, was the convertible scooter ahead of its time, or just a bad idea?